Psalm 7:16
His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
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7:10-17 David is confident that he shall find God his powerful Saviour. The destruction of sinners may be prevented by their conversion; for it is threatened, If he turn not from his evil way, let him expect it will be his ruin. But amidst the threatenings of wrath, we have a gracious offer of mercy. God gives sinners warning of their danger, and space to repent, and prevent it. He is slow to punish, and long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish. The sinner is described, ver. 14-16, as taking more pains to ruin his soul than, if directed aright, would save it. This is true, in a sense, of all sinners. Let us look to the Saviour under all our trials. Blessed Lord, give us grace to look to thee in the path of tribulation, going before thy church and people, and marking the way by thine own spotless example. Under all the persecutions which in our lesser trials mark our way, let the looking to Jesus animate our minds and comfort our hearts.His mischief - The mischief which he had designed for others.

Shall return upon his own head - Shall come upon himself. The blow which he aimed at others shall recoil on himself. This is but stating in another form the sentiment which had been expressed in the two previous verses. The language used here has something of a proverbial cast, and perhaps was common in the time of the writer to express this idea.

And his violent dealing - Which he shows to others. The word rendered violent dealing means violence, injustice, oppression, wrong.

Shall all come down upon his own pate - The word here rendered "pate" means properly vertex, top, or crown - as of the head. The idea is that it would come upon himself. He would be treated as he had designed to treat others. The sentiment here expressed is found also in Psalm 9:15; Psalm 35:8; Psalm 37:15. Compare Eurip. Med. 409, and Lucretius v. 1151.

15, 16. 1Sa 18:17; 31:2 illustrate the statement whether alluded to or not. These verses are expository of Ps 7:14, showing how the devices of the wicked end in disappointment, falsifying their expectations. Which phrase may note whence this retribution should come, even from heaven, or from the righteous and remarkable judgment of God.

His mischief shall return upon his own head,.... That which he conceived and devised in his mind, and attempted to bring upon others, shall fall upon himself, as a just judgment from heaven upon him;

and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate; referring to the violence with which Saul pursued David, which would be requited to him, and of which he prophesied, 1 Samuel 26:10.

His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate.
16. The certain recoil of evil upon the evil-doer. Cp. 1 Samuel 25:39 : and the figures in Proverbs 26:27, and Sir 27:25, “Whoso casteth a stone on high casteth it on his own head.”

Verse 16. - His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing upon his own pate. Some critics see in this a continuation of the metaphor, and suppose that, while the sinner is in the pit, the heap which his own hands have thrown out falls in upon him and crushes him. But it is perhaps better to understand the words in a more general way. Psalm 7:16(Heb.: 7:15-18) This closing strophe foretells to the enemy of God, as if dictated by the judge, what awaits him; and concludes with a prospect of thanksgiving and praise. Man brings forth what he has conceived, he reaps what he has sown. Starting from this primary passage, we find the punishment which sin brings with it frequently represented under these figures of הדה and ילד (הוליד, חבּל, חיל), זרע and קצר, and first of all in Job 15:35. The act, guilt, and punishment of sin appear in general as notions that run into one another. David sees in the sin of his enemies their self-destruction. It is singular, that travail is first spoken of, and then only afterwards pregnancy. For חבּל signifies, as in Sol 8:5, ὠδίνειν, not: to conceive (Hitz.). The Arab. ḥabila (synonym of ḥamala) is not to conceive in distinction from being pregnant, but it is both: to be and to become pregnant. The accentuation indicates the correct relationship of the three members of the sentence. First of all comes the general statement: Behold he shall travail with, i.e., bring forth with writhing as in the pains of labour, און, evil, as the result which proceeds from his wickedness. Then, by this thought being divided into its two factors (Hupf.) it goes on to say: that is, he shall conceive (concipere) עמל, and bear שׁקר. The former signifies trouble, molestia, just as πονηρία signifies that which makes πόνον; the latter falsehood, viz., self-deception, delusion, vanity, inasmuch as the burden prepared for others, returns as a heavy and oppressive burden upon the sinner himself, as is said in Psalm 7:17; cf. Isaiah 59:4, where און instead of שׁקר denotes the accursed wages of sin which consist in the unmasking of its nothingness, and in the undeceiving of its self-delusion. He diggeth a pit for himself, is another turn of the same thought, Psalm 57:7; Ecclesiastes 10:8. Psalm 7:16 mentions the digging, and Psalm 7:16 the subsequent falling into the pit; the aorist ויּפּל is, for instance, like Psalm 7:13, Psalm 16:9; Psalm 29:10. The attributive יפעל is virtually a genitive to שׁחת, and is rightly taken by Ges. 124, 3, a as present: in the midst of the execution of the work of destruction prepared for others it becomes his own. The trouble, עמל, prepared for others returns upon his own head (בּראשׁו, clinging to it, just as על־ראשׁו signifies descending and resting upon it), and the violence, חמס, done to others, being turned back by the Judge who dwells above (Micah 1:12), descends upon his own pate (קדקדו with o by q, as e.g., in Genesis 2:23). Thus is the righteousness of God revealed in wrath upon the oppressor and in mercy upon him who is innocently oppressed. Then will the rescued one, then will David, give thanks unto Jahve, as is due to Him after the revelation of His righteousness, and will sing of the name of Jahve the Most High (עליון as an appended name of God is always used without the art., e.g., Psalm 57:3). In the revelation of Himself He has made Himself a name. He has, however, revealed Himself as the almighty Judge and Deliverer, as the God of salvation, who rules over everything that takes place here below. It is this name, which He has made by His acts, that David will then echo back to Him in his song of thanksgiving.
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